How (and why) to maintain a woodwind instrument.
Updated: Oct 16, 2019
(A helpful guide for parents and students alike!)
We're dedicated to making your child's first experience with a musical instrument a great one. Keep their instrument in great playing condition, starts with understanding how to take care of it. Taking proper care of your Woodwind instrument is a must in order to ensure years of enjoyable play. We've outlined just a few easy steps to keep your instrument in its best playing condition, always!
Keep your instrument safe
Cases are made to keep instrument safe from drops and other accidental damage. When not being played, the instrument should ONLY be kept in its case.
Instrument stands can allow for a safe resting place during practice time. . not as good as a case, but better than a bed, or table.
Do not keep excess items in your case. Any items stored in your case need to be secured in an
interior compartment. Loose items can rattle around in the case causing damage your
Books should never be kept in your case. The case is designed to securely hold your instrument alone.
Books placed on top of your instrument and closed in the case can cause bent keys as well as a whole host of other problems.
Avoid extreme temperatures: Very hot or cold temperatures can affect the functionality of your
Keep your instrument dry
Use a swab after you play to remove moisture that has built up inside of your instrument. Moisture left in your instrument can cause corrosion. Also, damp pads can swell causing leaks in your instrument. Do not keep swabs or anything else that retains moisture inside of your instrument.
If the exterior of the instrument gets wet be sure to dry it off with a towel. DO NOT close it in the case until you are sure it is dry. Wet environments allow for the growth of mold and mildew.
Keep your instrument clean
Remove fingerprints and dirt from your instrument regularly. Use a soft polishing cloth to remove fingerprints and dirt from the exterior of your instrument. Be sure to use a polishing cloth for the specific finish of your instrument, lacquer, silver and nickel are the most common.
Have your instrument professionally cleaned annually. Professional cleaning services are available at our repair shop. The use of professional cleaning equipment allows us to easily and safely remove build-up from the interior of your instrument.
Properly assemble and disassemble your instrument
Use a small amount of cork grease on any cork tenons (Clarinet) and neck corks (Saxophone) to help parts easily slide together.
Avoid twisting keys while you are assembling or disassembling your instrument. Bent keys cause leaks and will affect how your instrument plays.
DO NOT force your instrument together. Forcing your instrument together can cause damage to your instrument and/or cause tenons to become stuck. If your instrument can not easily be put together have the repair shop properly check your tenons to ensure proper fit.
Know when to have your instrument serviced
It is recommended to have your instrument serviced no less than twice a year. By doing this, you'll typically avoid larger more costly repairs.
If your instrument experiences any trauma (like a fall or twist) or serious harm to your instrument, even if it is not visibly evident. Call us immediately. Your teacher can let you know if your instrument needs attention. Alternatively, you can call or email us anytime. A service technician can tell you if your instrument should be brought into the shop for service!
If your instrument is not operating properly, such as:
o If pads become sticky or torn
o If corks become torn or missing o If tenons fit too tightly or loosely o Your instrument sounds or feels “stuffy”.
o Parts become damaged or are missing
It probably needs to be brought in for servicing!